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Stefanik endorsed by county GOP leaders for 21st Congressional District

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The Republican county committees of the 21st Congressional District have endorsed Elise M. Stefanik to be the GOP candidate in November.

The endorsement carries the support of 11 of the 12 districts. Jefferson County is the only county that declined to give an endorsement.

Ronald E. Jackson, Essex County Republican Committee chairman and North Country Region vice chairman, announced the decision to reporters Friday afternoon at the Halfway House restaurant in Elizabethtown, saying it wasn’t just the leaders’ decision but the continued support for Ms. Stefanik around the district.

“It’s not the 11 chairs that made this decision; the decision was made in 12 separate meetings, hundreds of Republican committee people who decided Elise would be the best person to be our candidate. Joe got votes. Mike got votes. It was certainly not a unanimous thing, but Elise was the choice. Jefferson County chose not to endorse till after the primary. Several counties have done that in the past,” Mr. Jackson said.

Ms. Stefanik said she believes her youthful energy and her experience working in her family’s small business, Premium Plywood Products, will contribute to a successful career in Washington.

“I am so humbled today by the endorsement of the county chairs,” Ms. Stefanik said. “I plan to work very hard to get the support of the Conservatives, Democrats and independents to win this seat. We need new ideas if we are going to make a change in Washington. Washington is broken, and I look forward to being a voice for the north country. “

Ms. Stefanik courted the state Conservative Party last week in Albany, but did not come away with an endorsement as many members wanted to await word on whether former Republican candidate Matthew A. Doheny would seek the seat.

Ms. Stefanik said her campaign efforts at no point changed based on the announcement by Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, that he would not seek re-election. She has been campaigning for months, and has raised more than $250,000, far more than any other announced candidate.

The contest for the 21st District is wide open, since Mr. Owens announced he would step down when his term ends in December. Joining Ms. Stefanik as Republican hopefuls were Joseph M. Gilbert, DeKalb Junction and Michael F. Ring, Adams Center.

Also in the mix, but looking toward a primary rather than seeking the committees’ endorsement, is James K. Waller, 28, of Lake Pleasant, Hamilton County. The former Marine said he would collect signatures on nominating petitions to get on a Republican primary for the post.

Mr. Gilbert said he will continue to campaign for the vacant seat on the Republican ticket.

“I knew ahead of time what the endorsement would be, but there is a primary process and I am going to continue to campaign with all due fury and vigor,” Mr. Gilbert said. “I think there are stark differences between us. Voters have to ask what their candidate is going to do once the election is over and the sun comes up the next day and their candidate is in

Washington. They will want someone with experience in reading and writing legislation, someone who knows the issues.”

Mr. Ring said he will transfer his energy to supporting Ms. Stefanik.

“I will be endorsing Elise. The idea is I want to make a difference,” Mr. Ring said. “I’m going to keep endorsing. I’m going to keep up with the OurCongress.US website and in the process here I want to get the message out to voters, but I don’t plan on putting out petitions. I think Joe is a good candidate, but I think Elise is better.”

He said over the course of the campaign he has had a chance to get to know Ms. Stefanik and her positions on the issues and she is an excellent candidate.

New York’s 21st Congressional District includes Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Warren and Washington counties, as well as portions of Herkimer and Saratoga counties.

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